For years Garner has been known as a town where people buy a home and settle down.
But in recent years, it appears that trend is changing, as more people are opting for smaller space, and a short-term lease. Apartments are on the rise nationwide, and Garner is one of those places finally seeing that increase.
There are more than 1,000 apartment and town home units either under construction, recently approved, or under staff review in Garner currently. Planning Director Brad Bass said over the last two years, he’s seen more apartment growth than he has ever seen in his tenure in Garner.
“What we’re hearing is there is a demand in the marketplace for this type of housing, either for millennials who are delaying buying, or seniors who are downsizing or others who just don’t want to be in home ownership,” Bass said. “I think the demographics are somewhat changing.”
Some residents have voiced opposition to the different apartment projects that have been approved, saying Garner is becoming a community of apartments.
“I think we’ve forgotten that we’ve had some apartments, and the trends have manifested itself elsewhere before it got to Garner and we’ve just now seen it,” Town Council Member Buck Kennedy said. “But we cannot drive the market. The market drives construction and the people who are making these major investments, they have their market analysis due diligence performed and that’s the reason they are confident in building new apartments.”
Stacey Anfindsena, a Cary appraiser who analyzes MLS data for area real estate agents, said demand for apartments has increased throughout the Triangle. He said whether that is good for Garner depends on the type of apartments that are being built.
The expected monthly rent for the most recently approved apartments, Evolve at Timber Creek, are expected to be between $900 and $1,300. That apartment complex will include 302 units, off Benson Road near the intersection of N.C. 50 and Timber Drive.
“I think there’s a myth that when apartments come in they ruin prices of surrounding housing,” he said. “It’s a sign of growth, which is good.”
Tim Minton, the director of government affairs for the N.C. Home Builders Association, also said more apartments is a good thing for Garner. He said he doesn’t see Garner becoming a community with more apartments than homes. But rather that demand in apartments means the town’s population is just growing.
“Those are potential people who are going to be buying homes down the road, which is going to encourage more new construction,” Minton said. “As Garner continues to add more amenities, that makes it even more attractive.”
The huge demand in apartments first started after the recession. Many young professionals, distrusting of the housing market, opted to play it safe and rent instead of buy. But that trend has continued.
Kennedy said it’s a little surprising seeing developers want to come to Garner for apartments.
“But markets ebb and flow,” he said. “I’m not worried about it. You accept it and move on and realize that change happens. But I’m pleased in the confidence the development community has in investing in Garner.”